Sun, Dec 07, 2008

LAW AND GRACE! NUMBERS 27:12-23

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Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
THE LAW AND GRACE!
NUMBERS 27:12-23

Please turn in your Bibles this morning to Numbers chapter 27 as we look at a change of leadership from Moses to Joshua.  Moses is going to pass off the scene, he will die and be gathered to his people and Joshua will take over, as he will lead the people into the Promise Land. And it is out of what is taking place here that God is painting for us a beautiful picture of the Law and Grace, something that we truly need to understand today!

Before we get to our text this morning, let me share with you this story from Chuck Swindoll. He wrote:

            Several year’s ago my family and I were enjoying an evening at a restaurant. We looked over in the coroner and saw a couple from our church. We waved at ’em and they winked back in our direction. And just before they left they came by our table, shook hands and said, “Hi.” When our meal was over, I got up and walked to the cash register and said, “I didn’t get a check for our meal.” They said, “Oh, well, you don’t have to worry about it because someone else paid for it.” I asked, “Who paid for it?”  They said, “Well, we don’t know who they are, but they were the couple that walked over and said ‘Hello’ to you.” I was astonished, but said, “Well, why don’t I take care of the tip?” “No, that was all taken care of too.” It was paid in full. I had the hardest time accepting that. I wanted to go home and call them up and say, “Hey, why don’t I split it half-way with you?”

            There was another fellow who that year wanted to give us a Christmas present of washing all the windows in the house – inside and out. I had the hardest time saying, “Fine, do it all.” I was pacing up and down, wondering what I could do to pay him back. It’s difficult to accept something absolutely free. We think there’s a gimmick or we think there’s something we must do to pay our way.

            God’s grace says, “I’ve picked up the tab. I’ll take care of everything inside and out. Accept it. Believe it. It’s a declared fact.”

       - Chuck Swindoll, The Tale Of The Tardy Oxcart, pp. 251-252

            How true that is with Grace, we think we must do something to earn it, we must pay Him back, but all God asks of us is to receive it by faith. My prayer as you leave here this morning is that you would see the beauty of the Law, the perfection of the Law and the free gift of Grace that God extends to us.  With that said, let’s begin reading in Numbers chapter 27, starting in verse 12 and see what the Lord has for us as we look at the subject of THE LAW AND GRACE!

NUMBERS 27:12-23

            The time frame here is forty years after their exodus from Egypt. They have passed through the Red Sea. They have built, according to the blue prints from God, the Tabernacle or that portable worship structure. They have been taught on the various animal and grain sacrifices that needed to be made. God has separated the priests for service unto Him. God provided manna or bread from Heaven to feed them in the wilderness. God provide water for them to drink in the wilderness.  There was that rebellion because of unbelief and they did not enter into the Promise Land some 38 years earlier and God brought judgment upon that generation. They died in the wilderness, that generation did not enter into the land of Canaan. There was the rebellion of Korah against the leadership of Moses. And much more took place as we have seen and for forty years Moses has been leading the children of Israel, which was not easy. Day in and day out, month after month, year after year it would seem they murmured and complained about this and that to Moses.

            But now that older generation has died off as God said and a trial, a test of their faith for the new generation came from God. They lacked water and in Numbers chapter 20 Moses brought their request before God. Yes, the children of Israel were murmuring and complaining, but God was going to bless them and provide water for them.  And He told Moses to take the rod, gather the children of Israel together, and then just speak to the rock and it will bring forth water.

            And in Numbers 20:9-13 we see how this all played out. We are told, So Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?’ Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.’ This was the water of Meribah, because the children of Israel contended with the Lord, and He was hallowed among them.

Moses started out obeying the Lord but then he let his emotions take control and the works of the flesh overflowed in his words and his deeds.  The word rebels is translated in the Septuagint or the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures with the Greek word MOROS and from that word we get our English word “moron” from. In other words, Moses is yelling at the children of Israel, “Hear now, you morons! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Not exactly what God had in mind!

            Because Moses and Aaron did not represent God correctly before the people, because they dishonored God, they would not be allowed to go into the Promise Land. Now that may seem harsh but with authority comes accountability. Aaron has already died, and now the Lord tells Moses to go up to a high mountain and see the land of promise. Even though he could not enter in, he would still see it, God allowed that!

            Now, in Deuteronomy 3:21-29 we get a little more information of what was taking place here and how Moses responded. We are told, And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, ‘Your eyes have seen all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings; so will the Lord do to all the kingdoms through which you pass. You must not fear them, for the Lord your God Himself fights for you.’ Then I pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying: ‘O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds? I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon.’ But the Lord was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me. So the Lord said to me: ‘Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah, and lift your eyes toward the west, the north, the south, and the east; behold it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan. But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.’ So we stayed in the valley opposite Beth Peor.

            First we see Moses butter God up by telling God He is great. Like God didn’t know what Moses was doing. Then he pleads with God to let him go into the Promise Land and God was angry with Moses now and He shut the door on that idea, Moses would not enter in just as God already told him.  Moses would be able to see the Promise Land, but he could not enter in!

            What I find interesting is that by the time we get to Deuteronomy chapter 34, what Moses sees doesn’t make sense to many. In Deuteronomy 34:1-4 we are told, Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is across from Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the South, and the plain of the Valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him, ‘This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, “I will give it to your descendants.” I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.’

            In other words, God showed Moses the Promise Land and he had a panoramic view of all of it! From way up in the north where Dan would be, to the Mediterranean Sea on the west, to the southern portion, he saw it all. I believe God supernaturally gave Moses a picture of the land the children of Israel would occupy and then he died, just as God said!

            And back in Numbers chapter 27 we see the leadership pass from Moses to Joshua, for it will be Joshua who will lead the children of Israel into the Promise Land. No longer were they to look to Moses, but now to Joshua, he had the authority to lead them now and he will lead them farther than Moses ever could. You see, for those forty years they basically traveled in circles, but now, under Joshua they would go forward into the Promise Land!

            Now let’s look at the picture that God is painting for us. We will start out by looking at Moses. When you think of Moses what comes to mind? Yes, the plagues in Egypt, the deliverance of the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea and-so-on. But to the Jew, Moses is remembered as THE LAWGIVER! And we have covered the laws given to Moses by God in the book of Exodus and more in-depth in the book of Leviticus.

            Now we do not know his Hebrew name but we do know him by his Egyptian name, Moses, given to him by the daughter of Pharaoh in Exodus chapter 2. Interestingly enough, his name means, “taken out, drawn forth.” I believe it not only speaks of him being taken out of the ark in the river by Pharaoh’s daughter, but it also speaks of the Law being drawn forth, taken out from him.

            Paul tells us in Romans 7:7, What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet.’ In other words, if the Law was not drawn forth, we would not know of our sin, what sin was. You see, the Law enlightens us to our sin.

That may seem very simple, but it is very true. The Law shows us that we are sinners. The Law exposes our sins.  The Law could never save anyone; it never had the power to save. It only had the power to expose sin or righteousness. Sin, for all have sinned and righteousness, none of us are righteous before a holy God, not even one!

Now, out of these Laws that God gave to Moses, the Jewish Rabbis had come up with 613 commandments.  Of those 248 were positive and 365 negative.  They sought to be righteous before God by outward actions, keeping the Law but the reality is, it is a mater of the heart.  What a heavy burden the Law became upon the Jewish people, all those rules and regulations, what kind of relationship with God did that bring?  It was a horrible one!  Can you imagine a marriage relationship like that, based upon 613 commandments?  Of course not! It is as Paul said in Romans 3:20, Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Now we have covered this in our study in Exodus and in Leviticus and it is out of these Laws of God that the Jewish religious people came up with even more rules and regulations.  But they are not of God; they came from the heart of man. The Mishna, which is also called the oral Torah or oral Law was the oral tradition that was passed down over the years and there are volumes!

            What does it all mean?  Don’t worry because there is a commentary you might say on the Mishna or the Oral Law known as the Talmud. You thought it took us a long time to get through Leviticus, you ain’t seen nothing yet!  The Talmud is compilation of 63 books that contain 524 chapters to help explain the Oral Torah or Oral Law!  The Mishna or the oral Torah and the Talmud are not inspired books, they are not of God!

Now, because of that some have come to the unbiblical conclusion that the Law is bad, the Law is not for today. I disagree with that line of reasoning. Turn to Psalm 19 and let’s begin reading in verse 7, The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.  Psalm 19:7-11.

In this Psalm David started out by saying in verse 1, The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Psalm 19:1.  And in these first six verses he is showing that creation reveals or testifies of the Mighty One, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, Almighty God. But that is as far as creation can take a person, showing us that there is a God.

And then, starting in verse 7, and really continuing through the rest of the Psalm David shows how God’s Law, His Word reveals or testifies of Him being the One who enters a convent relationship with His people. It is what shows us His love for us and opens the door for a personal relationship with God!

You see, God’s Law is perfect and it convicts the soul by exposing our sin!  God’s Law, His Word makes us wise. There is joy in keeping it, a life of holiness as you walk in them. There is that hatred towards sin, not the sinner. And refusal to obey the Law of God does bring judgment. And God’s Law, His Word should be precious to us!

The problem, like I said, is the Law can never save you and you can never be good enough to enter into God’s presence by keeping the Law. Turn to John chapter 16 and let’s begin reading in verse 7 as Jesus is speaking of His departure, His death and the sending of the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts and lives of people. Notice what Jesus says here. We are told, Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. John 16:7-11.

Notice that when the Holy Spirit comes He will convict the world of sin, and righteousness, and of judgment.The word used for convict speaks of things that were used in a court to present the evidence and bring about a conviction. Here Jesus is telling us that the Holy Spirit will convict us or present to our hearts these things and then what we do with them will determine our destiny. 

Now, what sends a person to Hell?  Some would say murder, lying, stealing and-so-on.  I disagree. There really is only one sin that sends you to Hell and that is your rejection of Jesus!  It is not “sins” in the plural form but sin in the singular form.  All those other things just determine the degree of punishment you will have for eternity.  You see, Jesus is the only provision for sin and if you reject Him, you will die in your sins!

Then he goes on to say that the Holy Spirit will judge the world of righteousness and then says He, Jesus is going to the Father. What does Jesus mean by that? He is saying that He is the standard for righteousness and thus, if you are not as righteous as Jesus, you will not enter in. In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 5:20, For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  They were the keepers of the law and yet Jesus says they fell far short of keeping it, of being perfect.  Isaiah 64:6 tells us But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away. 

It seems hopeless and it is outside of Christ. You see, Paul tells us this good news in II Corinthians 5:21, For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  It is not our righteousness but His imparted to us and thus, we have met the standard not because of what we have done, but what He has done and given to us! 

And lastly He speaks of the world being judged. Now He is not speaking of the coming judgment here, that day will come. He is speaking of Satan being judged. His power over our lives has been broken by Jesus and His atoning work on the cross of Calvary!  It is as Colossians 2:15 says, Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.  Also, in Hebrews 2:14-15 we are told, Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 

Thus, he has no power over our lives unless we let him!  The solution to that life of defeat is not this program or that program, but it is as James 4:7, Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 

You see, the Law could never cleanse us from our sins, it never had the power to do that. Of this Charles Hodge wrote: “The law, although it cannot secure either the justification or sanctification of men, performs an essential part in the economy of salvation. It enlightens conscience and secures its verdict against a multitude of evils, which we should not otherwise have recognized as sins.  It arouses sin, increasing its power, and making it, both in itself and in our consciousness, exceedingly sinful.  It therefore produces that state of mind which is a necessary preparation for the reception of the gospel . . . Conviction of sin, that is, an adequate knowledge of its nature, and a sense of its power over us, is an indispensable part of evangelical religion. Before the gospel can be embraced as a means of deliverance from sin, we must feel we are involved in corruption and misery.”

So the Law is God’s perfect standard, which is impossible for any of us to keep and like I have said, it points us to Jesus, our Savior! If you try to keep the Law for your salvation, you are a fool.  James tells us in James 2:10, For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.  Thus, if you keep 612 of the 613 commandments, you only blow just one, you are guilty of all of them, all 613!  God is looking for perfection, not almost perfection!  And that can only be accomplished as the righteousness of Christ is imputed into our lives by faith!

Paul put it like this in Galatians 2:19-21, For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.

Thus, Moses must pass off the scene to allow Joshua to be raised up, the one who will lead the children of Israel into the Promise Land and we will finish up this morning looking at this man of God who represented the Grace of God. In fact, the name Joshua means, “the LORD is salvation.”  Thus, what the Law could not do, not because it was not good or perfect but because we are not good, we are not perfect, our Joshua would do for us. Keep in mind that the Greek name for Joshua is JESUS and He is our SALVATION!

Please turn to Galatians chapter 3, for in this portion of Scripture Paul shows that salvation is by grace and not through the Law.  In fact, before we get there, listen to what Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9, For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.You see, our salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone!  It is not by works, it is not by the Law –PERIOD! The Law can only save you if you were perfect, and you are not, I am not and thus, salvation can only come by grace, through faith in Christ!

Now, here in Galatians 3:15-18 Paul tells us, Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

In these verses Paul is speaking of God’s unchanging nature in regards to His covenant with Abraham and to prove his point, he looks at human covenants that are made and how they are not broken or changed. And if that is true, for the most part with man, how much more with God!

            Now some Jew’s feel that this promise made to Abraham and his descendants speaks of the nation of Israel, the Jewish people – the seeds!  Not at all for Paul makes sure we don’t miss the point as he says to your seed or singular and if they still didn’t get it, he tells them that the seed is Christ, Jesus, the Messiah!  Yes, the Mosaic covenant, the Law was a bilateral covenant, if you did this then God would do that. But the Abrahamic covenant was a unilateral covenant based upon the faithfulness of God and not man!

            Yes, the Law came over 430 years later but it cannot invalidate a covenant that was previously ratified by God to Abraham!  In Numbers 23:19 we are told, God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent.  Has He said, and will He not do?  Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?  In fact, the wordgave in verse 18, CHARIZOMAI (khar-id’-zom-ahee) in the Greek, and it is based in the Greek word CHARIS or grace.  You see, God freely gave Abraham this promise and this word is in the perfect tense, showing the gift is permanent; it can’t be voided or taken away!  Praise God for that.

            If this is all true, which it is, then why was the Law given in the first place? Great question and Paul is going to answer that question for us and I’m sure it was a question these Judiazers also had.  In Galatians 3:19-21 we are told,What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.

            As I have said, one of the reasons the Law was given was to show man God’s holy standard and in doing so it may restrain man from transgressing against God and ultimately destroying himself. Also, when a Law is made we see the heart of man in rebelling against it. When you see a sign that says, “Don’t walk on the grass!” what do you want to do? You want to walk on the grass!  Paul tells us in Romans 7:5-8, and this is from The Amplified Bible, When we were living in the flesh (mere physical lives), the sinful passions that were awakened and aroused up by [what] the Law [makes sin] were constantly operating in our natural powers (in our bodily organs, in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh), so that we bore fruit for death.  But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the old code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in newness [of life].  What then do we conclude? Is the Law identical with sin? Certainly not! Nevertheless, if it had not been for the Law, I should not have recognized sin or have known its meaning. [For instance] I would not have known about covetousness [would have had no consciousness of sin or sense of guilt] if the Law had not [repeatedly] said, You shall not covet and have an evil desire [for one thing and another]. [Ex 20:17; Deut 5:21.]

            Not only does the Law show us we are sinners, but Paul tells us the Law was only temporary, until the Messiah came!  That means the Law is inferior to the promise, why? Because the Law was limited in what it could do, it can’t save us but only show us how far short we are to God’s standard of perfection. As we are going to see, the Law brings us to Jesus!

            Think of the Law like being a mirror. When you get up in the morning and you look in the mirror and you have dirt on your face, a piece of spinach between your teeth, your hair looks like you have been electrocuted, can the mirror help you to look better? Absolutely not!  All the mirror can do is reveal how you look, the way you are. The Law can’t change you. Thus, as you look at the mirror you don’t need to see more of your reflection, you already know it is bad, now you need some GRACE!  That is what Jesus gives to us, His Grace that can save us because we already know we are sinners separated from God!  He alone can change us from the inside out!

            Again, does that mean the Law is bad or evil?  Not at all!  You see, as I have said, the Law is good; the Law is perfect.  The problem is not the Law, but us, we are not good, we are not perfect, we can’t keep it!  Thus, Paul tells us, Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.”  Galatians 3:21.  You see, righteousness doesn’t come by the Law, but by faith in Jesus. That is what Paul said in II Corinthians 5:21, For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  It is His righteousness that has been imputed into our lives by faith!  It is a gift we don’t deserve, it is GRACE!

            Back in Galatians, let’s read Galatians 3:22-25, as Paul tells us, But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

Paul is telling us that the Scriptures have confined us or put us in prison because of our failure to keep the Law perfectly!  Morris puts it this way, “Sin is personified as a jailer, keeping sinners under its control so that they cannot break free.”  How then can we get out?  How can we escape?  By faith in Christ, the finished work on the cross of Calvary that He accomplished for us. Again Morris tells us, “Far from being the gateway into a glorious liberty, it turns out to be a jailer, shutting people up. The result is that the only way of escape was through faith.”  And yet, how many today try to be good enough to get into Heaven and yet, God says that there are none that are good enough, there are none that are good but all fall far short of perfection, God’s standard!

Yes, Paul said that the, Scripture has confined all under sin or has confined us in prison. But as we move into verse 23 of Galatians chapter 3 the idea is protective custody as Paul says the Law has us under guard.  Yes, sin imprisons us under the Law but also the Law protects us if we walk in the ways of God.

            Of this John MacArthur makes these interesting comments:

            A paidagoegos (tutor) was not a teacher or schoolmaster proper (KJV) but rather a slave employed by Greek or Roman families, whose duty was to supervise young boys in behalf of their parents. They took their young charges to and from school, made sure they studied their lessons, and trained them in obedience. They were strict disciplinarians, scolding and whipping as they felt it necessary.  Paul told the Corinthian believers – who often behaved like spoiled children – that, even if they “were to have countless tutors [paidagoegos] in Christ,” he would be their only “father through the gospel” (1 Cor 4:15). Continuing the contrast of paidagoegos and father, he later asks, “Shall I come to you with a rod or with love and a spirit of gentleness?” (v. 21).

            The role of the paidagoegos was never permanent, and it was a great day of deliverance when a boy finally gained freedom from his paidagoegos. His purpose was to take care of the child only until he grew into adulthood. At that time the relationship was changed.  Though the two of them might remain close and friendly, the paidagoegos, having completed his assignment, had no more authority or control over the child, now a young man, and the young man had no more responsibility to be directly under the paidagoegos. The sole purpose of the Law, God’s divinely appointed paidagoegos, was to lead men to Christ, that they might be justified.  After a person comes to Him, there is no longer need for the external ceremonies and rituals to act as guides and disciplinarians, because the new inner principles operate through the indwelling Christ, in whom is “hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3).  The law in the ceremonial sense is done away with, though in the moral sense it remains always an intimate friend that one seeks to love and favor.

            Before Christ came, the law of external ritual and ceremony, especially the sacrificial system, pictured the once-for-all, perfect, and effective sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world. When the perfect Christ comes into the believer’s heart, those imperfect pictures of Him have no more purpose or significance.

                                                                                                - John MacArthur

            How does the Law drive us to Christ?  By showing us that we are sinners separated from God. In Isaiah 59:1-2 we are told, Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.  But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.  Just as Moses the Lawgiver couldn’t take the children of Israel into the Promise Land, neither can the Law lead us into the Spirit filled life – it can’t save us. Who brought the children of Israel into the Promise Land?  Joshua or Jesus and Jesus leads us into the new life by faith!  Just as Moses could only bring the children of Israel to the boarder of the Promise Land and it was Joshua who would lead them into the Promise Land, the Law could only take us so far; it is Jesus who brings us into that eternal life with Him! It is only Jesus who can save!

Now, how do we become sons of God?  Listen to what Paul tells us in Galatians 3:26-27, For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Paul tells us it is by faith in Jesus Christ, clothing ourselves with Him or putting on Jesus!  Paul admonishes us in Romans 13:11-14 to, “ . . . do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.  The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.  Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

            John MacArthur gives us some insight into this as he tells us: “The ancient Romans had a coming-of-age ceremony called toga virilis, which was somewhat like the Jewish bar mitzvah.  The ceremony signified a boy’s reaching the age of manhood (which varied between the ages of 14-17) and full Roman citizenship, with all its rights and privileges. He no longer had a paidagoegos, but was now a recognized adult, responsible for his own welfare and actions.  ‘You have all experienced a spiritual toga virilis,’ Paul told the Galatian believers, in effect, ‘and in light of that stupendous truth, why would you consider going back under the tutorship of the law?’”

            The bottom line is this. The Law was our tutor, it brought us to Christ. All the Old Testament sacrifices could never take away a person sins, they were only covered for a time.  Paul made that point very clearly in Hebrews 9:11-15 as he wrote, But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

            Thus, don’t go under the bondage of the Law for your salvation, because it will never save you, only condemn you of your sins. You don’t need more condemnation you need SALVATION and that only will come through Jesus Christ. In John 1:17 we are told, For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”  And look at the comparison that C. I. Scofield made between Law and Grace. He wrote:

The most obvious and striking division of the Word of Truth is that between Law and Grace. . . . It is vital to observe that Scripture never mingles these two principles. Law is God prohibiting and requiring; 
Grace is God beseeching and bestowing. Law is a ministry of condemnation; 
Grace is of forgiveness. Law curses; 
Grace redeems from that curse.Law kills; 
Grace makes alive. Law shuts every mouth before God; 
Grace opens every mouth to praise Him. Law puts a great and guilty distance between man and God; 
Grace makes guilty man nigh to God. Law says "do and live"; 
Grace, "believe and live." Law never had a missionary; 
Grace is to be preached to every creature. Law utterly condemns the best man; 
Grace freely justifies the worst. Law is a system of probation; 
Grace, of favour.

Law stones an adulteress; 
Grace says, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." Under law the sheep dies at the hand of the shepherd; 
Under grace the Shepherd dies for the sheep.

Everywhere the Scriptures present law and grace in sharply contrasted spheres.

The mingling of them in much of the current teaching of the day spoils both, for law is robbed of its terror, and grace of its freeness.

- C. I. Scofield, Law And Grace

            And so Moses, the Lawgiver is passing off the scene, he must die so that Joshua can now lead the children of Israel into the Promise Land. The Law gives way to Grace for only God’s Grace can save us, it has the power to save! As I close this morning, let me leave you with this to think about:

A duck hunter was with a friend in the wide-open land of southeastern Georgia. Far away on the horizon he noticed a cloud of smoke. Soon he could hear crackling as the wind shifted. He realized the terrible truth; a brushfire was advancing, so fast they couldn’t outrun it. Rifling through his pockets, he soon found what he was looking for—a book of matches. He lit a small fire around the two of them. Soon they were standing in a circle of blackened earth, waiting for the fire to come. They didn’t have to wait long. They covered their mouths with handkerchiefs and braced themselves. The fire came near—and swept over them. But they were completely unhurt, untouched. Fire would not pass where fire already had passed. The law is like a brushfire. I cannot escape it. But if I stand in the burned-over place, not a hair of my head will be singed. Christ’s death has disarmed it.

- Paul F. M. Zahl, Adapted from Who Will Deliver Us

Thus, we keep the Law of God not for salvation, but for sanctification, out of love.  We are called to live holy lives, not to save us but to be like the Lord in our conduct.  It truly is a beautiful picture that God has painted for us.  May we not negate the Law but obey it out of love, for the Law was never meant to save, only to point us to our sinful condition. Only Jesus saves, thus come to Him and receive that everlasting life with Him instead of that everlasting life apart from Him in the Lake of Fire! For Jesus said, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.

May we not forget the love He has for us and receive that love into our lives, that gift of Grace that we don’t deserve. Law and Grace do not mix as Paul said, For the wages of sin is death, but the [free] gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Receive the gift that God has for you! Remember, God’s grace says, “I’ve picked up the tab. I’ll take care of everything inside and out. Accept it. Believe it. It’s a declared fact.”

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